Yesterday’s tour of Pompeii gave a view of the Sorrento area that is steeped in history, in the devastation caused by the eruptions of Mount Vesuvius. Today we saw the Sorrento of today – municipalities within Sorrento and the agricultural impact of farming on the steep hills of the area.
While we saw the importance of inlaid wood products and cameos yesterday, today we saw an actual working farm. This region of Italy is lush with lemons, producing any number of lemon products; so of course, we went to a farm that has lemon groves and olive groves (they share the land space, by the way). The lemon trees are supported by frameworks that are covered by nets. The olive trees rise above the nets. The nets protect the delicate lemon skin from the hot summer sun and serve to catch the olives when they are harvested in the fall.
The lemons are used to make limonicello, a lemon liquor, as well as many other lemon-based things – crema di limoni, lemon marmalade, a chocolate lemon liquor, and more.
This farm also makes olive oil, grinding the harvested olives in motorized presses. The olive residue is highly combustible and becomes fuel, the water is fermented and used as fertilizer, and the olive oil is bottled and sold.
We also saw how mozzarella cheese and ricotta cheese are made, and then sampled the cheeses with salami, bruchetta (pronounced bru-ket-ta) with an artichoke spread, and a local wine. This was definitely an experience of the local culture!
The ride to the farm and back in a tour bus was an experience in itself. The traffic is heavy and the roads are quite narrow. Bus drivers deserve an award for navigating the winding narrow roads through the communities and along the Amalfi coast. I think the Indianapolis 500 might be an easier drive!
Heading to Sicily tonight…